In Pursuit of the Light

Today, I want to continue my very personal story (last post was in October 2014) and as “Circle of fear” feels rather like where I have come from than where I am going to, I want to rename my very personal story from now on to “In Pursuit of the Light”. To illustrate what I mean with these words, I want to show you my…

Vision of life

The goal(s?) in my life

The power of love

Yes: I am a dreamer

And yes, sometimes it feels like a punishment but it feels so great when you meet someone who sees the dawn with you before the rest of the world and maybe can even help you make the world see it a little earlier.

Why sustainability?

But now back to my very personal story…

In Pursuit of the Light

Let’s say I begin to think about my life again after three years filled with studies and girlfriend struggle. I discover the great book “The seven habits of highly effective people” by Stephen Covey and begin taking control of my life again. I do better at work, enjoy my life more and more and feel quite good. I am spending very great summer holidays, one week of hiking with my parents (Austria) and two weeks of language-learning/practising and partying/excessive dancing (Salamanca, Spain). I discover how much I like to get to know to new people once again and organise some parties and connect people to each other. Back in Germany, some may have a hard time getting used to my new self-confidence but yeah, we are working on that. So lots of things are happening/I make lots of things happen and I want to leave you here for getting my shower to get ready for another exciting day.

This is how I left you last time I was writing down my very personal story. So what happened since then?

After the extreme energy and dancing in Summer 2014, I get known to a lovely girl from Fall to Spring and reaching Summer 2015, I wake up from my “Wintersleep” realizing I was not living to my full potential in this relationship and we break up. In Spring 2015, I begin working as an IT consultant quitting the company I worked at during and after my studies. As I am working most of the time from my home office (and only sometimes having workshops with customers what I would prefer much more), I look for excitement and social interaction outside of my work. I go a lot to the dancing parties of my dancing school, most of the time with the dancing partner I am dancing with for more than a year now. We spend our summer holidays at the Lake Constance together and enjoy the time very much. I am reaching my highest energy at the end of September 2015 when taking part in the Project Management Karlsruhe where I can talk and think a lot with great people and inspiring sessions.


I go to another dancing party just after the PM Camp is over and my life changes in a sudden. I am dancing with a woman I am knowing quite well for the little walk we had with some other persons from my dancing school in the summer. She tells me that my eyes would look empty and I begin to listen to my body. She tells me a few words while we are dancing and all of a sudden, my artificially pushed energy level gets down to a kind of natural tiredness after exhaustion and at the end of the dance, we hug each other. Laying in each other’s arms, we change the room and sit down for a close talk. In the following days, we see each other a lot and have continued to do so ever since. My words from “In our forest” are inspired by our first days. We seem to be very different but having the same goals in life which means we can support each other quite well, living a love I have not known before. When I see my grandma for the next time, I tell her that I have a new girlfriend and before she can reply anything, I tell her “I believe this time, she’s the one”. I am sure we will enjoy our pursuit of the light together.

But well, there is not only light in the world. In Spring 2015, I discover that I have started my master studies (distant learning) without thinking too much and decide to quit the pain and live without master degree – quite well so far I think.

In Fall 2015, I end the friendship with my dancing partner I spent my summer holidays with because I feel like I have to be an older, less energized version of myself when being with her. It gets complicated and sometimes ugly but feels great once I have cut all ways back – after all it is often leaving a door back open which ties us to our past and prevents us from reaching our full potential, I think. Of course, this does not mean that we do not need to make peace with our past – I accept that I have lost a friend but am grateful for the great time we had.

With the shaping of my vision of life I told you about above, I feel wrong with my job at the IT consulting company. I feel like I have to do too much things, I don’t love or the world don’t need that much and at the same time, I have learned during a Massive Open Online Course about Social Business which great things companies can do. I love my customers and enjoy working with them a lot but my bosses boss me around too much and sometimes show that they dream less than I do. I know that I am a hard-to-employ employee because I do not accept leadership executed by organizational position (“You have to do so because I am the boss”) and ask for real profit from my work for our customers and less focus on the profit of the company. But anyway, I close the door to my past once more and quit the job (currently I have my last working days till January 2016). It feels great, this smell of adventure!

Well, I am not unemployed despite this, I have started working for the Cooperate State University Karlsruhe as a project staff member in the area of eLearning (well known from my studies) – a job which feels a lot more like the purpose star in the first image.

DSC_5928_smallAnd there is a lot more to come, whatever it may be. I am on my way in pursuit of the light.

Enjoy the last days of this year – spend the Christmas days peacefully and wisely with your loved ones and if we do not talk to each other before 2016 – have a great start into the new year everybody!



Gamify later or Why Gamification needs to be rethought

A powerful light shines in the dark.

A powerful light shines in the dark. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you still remember that little Dishwasher game I wanted to let my work mates play? For those who don’t. Well, you remember, my boss interrupted at the mention of gamification so we couldn’t play. I had a great and long discussion with him this week and I can tell you: Gamification needs to be rethought. You might wonder if I’m being a bit too rude to sweet innocent gamification now but let’s take the popular example of Foursquare:

They just gave their players points and badges for checking in and had leaderboards (“The Mayor“) for every place. But after a several time, players quit. Do you know why?

They now changed the design completely and I think they are getting one step closer to the light side now. You can read the whole story here.

So if you already read my page “The light side” and maybe even the short Foursquare story, we can start to think about the new, sustainable gamification. I want to develop such a light side application called gamma. Gamma stands for gamified non-manipulative mmorpg-like application. So what does that mean?

  • Gamified because it uses game elements to support players by providing immediate feedback and a skill board to
    Gamma - The light side of Gamification

    Gamma – The light side of Gamification

    see where they stand.

  • Non-manipulative because players are intelligent enough to discover real manipulation and will oppose against it as I do against using manipulation techniques. The application will provide information and allow players to communicate so that they can make a decision together instead of getting a decision.
  • Mmorpg-like because I was inspired by Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games to develop an application which allows players to create quests and accept quests (or tasks) to get experience points and skill points to know where they stand and what they want to achieve.
  • Application because it will be a piece of software that enables the players to enjoy the light side.

So much for now, I will come back to gamma in a later post.

Now I still want to discuss an interesting point Joe Cool (btw the first commentator on my first post, you are a brave one, thx!) made yesterday:

Our whole life is about influencing, or if you want to coin it in a negative way, it is about manipulating

(Joe Cool, July 5, 2012, comment)

I replied to him that we need to differentiate between 1) giving arguments plus the chance to make a decision AND 2) “giving” a decision. 2) is manipulative without doubt. 1) is what we call in my company the “way of making a commonly accepted decision”. The idea is that everybody tells why he or she wants to do something and given all this motivation, you can make the right choice. Sometimes it takes a bit longer but well, at least most times results are quite profoundly thought-over.

Pirates thumb

Pirates thumb (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think to be clear about where discussion ends and manipulation starts is a very essential point also for gamification. In my oppinion manipulation starts if you decide to keep knowledge private to avoid getting a possibility killed (e.g. telling the world you only need 100k € to get back on your feet and not telling that you already bought a one-way flight to a little island in the Caraiban).

Thx for reading, I appreciate your comments very much!

May the force be with you…

The two sides of gamification or May the force be with you



A dishwasher containing clean dishes

A dishwasher containing clean dishes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the moment, I am developping a little prototype for my gamma-study. The idea is implementing a “clean of the dishwasher“-game which provides three simple use cases to motivate me and my working mates to clean of the dishwasher:

  1. “I (x) cleaned of the dishwasher and were seen by mate y“.
  2. “I were in the kitchen and saw x cleaning of the dishwasher”.
  3. “I need to know my working mates to tell who were in the kitchen. Show me five images and let me guess who it is”.

Quite simple, but with the third use case I provide some intrinsic motivation (well at least I suppose you’d like to know names and faces you are working with) besides the motivation of getting points for guessing names and matches of first and second use case.

But when I told my boss what I wanted to do, he already interrupted at the mention of gamification. In his opinion, gamification is not compatible with our company’s philosophy because gamification “targets the manipulation of the behaviour of people” and our philosophy is very based on individual freedom and self-responsability.

This led me to tell you about…

The two sides of gamification

I think of gamification as the jedi do of the force:

There is a light side and a dark side.

Let’s start with the temptations of the dark side:

Gamification Ethics (by Kes Sampanthar)

Gamification Ethics (by Kes Sampanthar)

  • You would never do a task like this if you were not paid for.
  • Let the players feel a pressure to play or get them addicted of the game.
  • The problem you try to solve by using gamification is only a symptom of an organisational or social disease that you will never heal.
  • You just add points and badges and that’s the magic that makes everybody happy (ever heard of the Cargo Cult?)
  • Manipulation of the ethical conscience of the players.
  • Gamification for gamification and as a religion to make everyone believe in your strategy.
  • If you can think of more darkness, share your ideas by commenting here please. Thx!

Now the light side:

A powerful light shines in the dark.

A powerful light shines in the dark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • You can support the players by immediate feedback about their recent work instead of demotivating them with a “What the hell did you do?!” after two weeks of hard work.
  • You can support the players by creating a transparent skill board so that they can see, where their strengths and weaknesses are.
  • You can support the players building a team and creating a good team atmosphere by creating a transparent team-wide progress board to show them what they achieve together.
  • You can let your players elect a “senat of players” by which they can decide about changes made to the rules and game design.
  • There are transparent and precise rules and a code of conduct for both players and quest/game-designer so that you work together more transparent and objective.
  • Your players will always know what they already achieved and will be more self-confident.
  • Players can motivate themselves and support themselves reaching their aims.

Conclusion and perspective

Gamma - The light side of Gamification

Gamma – The light side of Gamification

In my opinion, the dark side is tempting because it is easier to implement and you don’t need to worry about the players, you can simply see them as a black box giving you money or work time.

But as always easy and fast success, especially if it is reached by manipulation, is not the long-term winner. So if you are really serious about gamification, please think about what players get back for investing their time in using your gamified application and stay on the light side. Never said it were easy, but your players will feel at ease and there will be a healthy, continuous progess and growth.

With gamma, I will try to implement the light side for employees, so that your boss can design a quest and by reaching a certain level, you can design quests for your colleagues. You will get skill points and experience points depending on the quests you completed and can apply for quests.

Comments and questions are appreciated very much!

Hope I can open my boss’ eyes for the light side…

And never forget: May the force be with you!